The bail system is a central part of the American justice system, one that allows people to live freely if or until they have been deemed guilty by a court of law. Every year close to $9 billion is paid in either cash or bond bail across the United States.
If you’re one of the thousands of people who have paid bail and are awaiting the outcome of a trial, you may have some questions. Chief among these will likely be “do you get bail money back?”.
Bail money is essentially collateral used to ensure you show up to court and don’t skip the trial. It is not a fee that you are paying to secure temporary freedom. As such, you will be entitled to get your bail money back in certain circumstances. Here’s what you need to know.
Getting Your Bail Back if You Paid Cash Directly to the Court
If you paid the full bail amount in cash out of your own pocket directly to the court, then you have certain entitlements. That bail money will be held untouched by the court until the trial is concluded and the case is closed.
After this point, the judge will order the bail money to be ‘exonerated’. This means that, if you have attended all of your court dates and have met the conditions of the bail, your bail money will be returned back to you.
However, when asking “is bail money refundable”, there are a few caveats to be aware of. First off, some of the bail money may be used to cover court fees. This is usually small, standing at around 1-5% of the bail amount.
In addition, this may only be done if the defendant was found to be guilty. If you were fully exonerated, you will likely receive 100% of your cash bail amount back.
However, if you did not meet the conditions of your bail or missed any court dates, you have forfeited your right to receive any of the money at all.
Do You Get Bail Money Back if You Used Bail Bonds?
Another key question defendants often ask if “do you get bail money back from a bails bondsman?”. The answer here is a little different. Since the bondsman is the person putting up most of the bail money, the only question here is whether the bail bonds you have paid for are refundable.
The answer to this question is no. Say you paid a $150 bond on a $1000 bail. The advantage of using a bondsman is that you do not have to pay the full bail amount in cash. This bond is basically a way of passing on the full costs to the bondsmen. Therefore, they will usually keep the full amount of what you have paid, regardless of the outcome of the trial.
In addition, many bondsmen may require collateral, since they are on the hook if a defendant breaches the conditions of their bail. Always check with a bond provider to see what the terms and conditions are.
Now that you know the answer to the question “do you get bail money back?”, it’s time to take action. Make sure to get in touch with our experienced and qualified bondsmen today if you need to secure freedom for yourself or a loved one.